Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vacation (all I ever wanted) California Wine Country. Part 2

Ahh.....Sonoma and Napa. Just saying the words brings me to a happy place. And that's not just the wine talking. The area is so incredibly gorgeous. It looks fake. The landscape looks like a painting. It is so insanely peaceful and so insanely fun. Especially if you love wine and food. Which, lucky for us, we do! So does my sister, brother in law, brother and sister in law, who we got to spend this fantastic vacation with. The tears of laughter flowed like the wine we drank. Of which we drank a lot. Our first full day in Sonoma we had a driver. If you're ever planning on a visit, you should plan on a driver at least one full day, if not two. And if you're planning on having a driver, you should plan on calling the peeps at Beau Wine Tours. This is the second time we've used them and they came through again. Completely awesome. Our first day took us to wineries in Sonoma. First stop of the day, Alexander Valley Vineyards.

Where my, 6' 8" brother in law, tested out a shirt. Does this fit? I can't tell. If you stop, get some Cyrus. It's beyond fantastic. 

Second stop, Lambert Bridge. This was a new stop for all of us, recommended by our awesome driver, Dennis. It was phenomenal. The views, the people, the wine!!! My favorite winery in Sonoma, by far. 

Um, protein. Yeah, that's a slug. You'll be happy to know Lambert Bridge takes these suckers out. Most places, do not. 

My bro showing us the clarity of the wine. p.s. It was HOT. 

Testing the newly pressed Sauv. Blanc grape juice. It was pretty nuts. Crazy sweet. We arrived just at the beginning of harvest which was awesome. We got to see the first grapes of the season being sorted and pressed. Very cool. 

My brother in law, tasting the juice. 

I almost stole this truck. Ok, not really, but I wanted to. 

Hello, ladies. How's your wine? 

We had stopped to pick up sandwiches and ate our lunch on the picnic tables at the winery. I highly recommend doing this. Much easier and takes far less time than to stop to eat at a restaurant. Plus, you can buy wine and bring it outside to drink with your lunch. Bonus! 

After Lambert Ridge, our last stop for the day was at Deerfield Ranch. The hubs and I are huge Deerfield fans. I love all of their wines. We belong to the wine club and eagerly anticipate when the next shipment is arriving. I took not one pic at Deerfield. I was too busy drinking the wine in the gorgeous wine cave, which was too dark to take pics in anyway....the rest of the day we spent swimming at the house, eating cheese, drinking more wine and watching Bridesmaids. It was the only movie we brought, we ended up watching it everyday. I can now recite 99% of the movie, test me.
"You're more beautiful than Cinderella. You smell like pine needles, and have a face like sunshine." 

The next day we slept in. Watched Bridesmaids, again. This time with the whole gang who couldn't stay away, what with the insanely loud belly laughs coming from the down the hall. Seriously, it's hilarious. The only thing we had planned for the day was dinner. Another tip. Try to keep one, if not two days, without set plans. It keeps the trip spontaneous and allows to you stop at wherever you feel like, whenever you feel like it. As long as they're wineries that don't require reservations. We headed over to Sonoma in the early afternoon. As we were driving into Napa, we spotted Domaine Carneros and decided to swing in for a stop. Hurray for sparkling wine! 

I tried the Grande Tasting. Two sparklings and two reds. Yummy. We also ordered some munchies. Charcuterie and cheese plates. I could live on sparkling wine, charcuterie and cheese plates.

My sister could have lived off this olive. It was like an ovary. It was friggin' huge! She said it was good. I'm not sure I believe her. 

Next stop, Trefethen! It just so happened to be their 125th birthday party. I thought the party was from 11-4, turns out it was from 11-2. Whoops! Didn't matter, we got to visit their gorgeous winery and taste some really phenomenal wine. 

His future's not so bright, he just can't see with out his prescription. At all. 

She was awesome. She wore this hat the whole day. Brilliant, yes? 

If you visit you have to try their Chardonnay, Quandary, Dragon's Tooth and HaLo. All phenomenal. I could go for a glass of Quandary right now. 

Next stop, Miner. Where I bought a really awesome shirt and went to the bathroom. Ha!

My sister told me to, "Pose It" And so I did. That backdrop is outrageous. 

Look at the light! Look at the view! Look at my sister! 

We also stopped at Robert Sinskey. They have a kitchen right in the tasting room. She was making gougere. They were delicious. 

Our last stop was dinner. At Auberge Du Soleil. In a word, spectacular. 

On our last trip to wine country, our visit to Auberge was the day after we had gone to The French Laundry. Unfortunately, I think it got overshadowed by our awe of the Laundry. Which is crazy, because it is beyond fabulous. The view, the food, the service, all of it is perfection. 

My sister in law and Miriam our waitress. 
Remember how I wanted to take the truck home with me? I'd rather take Miriam. Her voice! She could make a prison menu sound like a 4 star restaurant. She could read me a prescription label. Anything! She was lovely. 

I would like 100 more of these, please. 

The Hubs bought a big, bubba, bottle of HaLo for us to have with dinner. Thanks, babe! 

There he is!

I think she's thinking, "This is too damn fun. Or, put your camera away. Or, that olive is coming back to haunt me." Maybe all three?

Cheers, peeps! 

And that's only half of it! Stay tuned for part three. Garlic fries, taco trucks and the best view in Napa.


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